4th April, 2002: Angola breathes sigh of relief

After 27 years of a ruinous civil war, MPLA and UNITA sign a cease-fire in front of representatives of the governments of the Russian Federation, the USA and Portugal.

In Luanda today, a historic cease-fire is to be signed between the representative of the MPLA government, Armando da Cruz e Neto, and the UNITA Chief of Staff, General Geraldo Abreu Kamorteiro.

The agreement will be signed in the presence of national and international personalities, among whom are the representatives of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the troika of observers, Portugal, the former colonial power, and the Russian Federation and the USA, the two powers involved in the conflict which began during the Cold War. The UN special envoy for Angola, Ibrahim Ngambari, will preside over the ceremony.

It is hoped that after a decade of interrupted peace talks with neither side being able to trust the other, this time Angola’s 4 million internally dislocated persons will be able to return home and pick up the thread of some kind of normality in their lives.

With both sides declaring that they are determined to fulfil their promises to install a lasting peace in Angola, negotiations are under way for UNITA’s 50,000 troops to be integrated into the Angolan Armed Forces.

Peace marches are being held up and down the country and Friday has been declared a national holiday.

Today, a ray of light shines on Angola. However, the main cities in the interior are destroyed, there are 100,000 victims of land mines and the country’s economy is in shreds. President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, or his successors, have a lot of work to do.


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